Why Google Is So Smart

2007-12-23 16:57 - Opinion

Google has a lot of wonderful products, and a wide range of them are leaders in their space. Some others are weird, and some others make you think, "How can they give that away for free?!". It's simple: Google has often figured out how to make value out of giving away products.

A recent article at Techdirt about crowdsourcing explains exactly how, in one case:

... Google is admitting its GOOG-411 project has little to do with taking on the 411 telephone information service, and everything to do with building a better speech recognition system. You see, to build speech recognition, you need many different voices saying many different phonemes (the sounds that make up words) in a variety of accents/tones/pitches/etc. Rather than go out and ask people to speak, Google gets plenty of phonemes just by providing this service.

Yep, that often dollar-per-use 411 system got replaced by a free one, because they are truly using it for something else. Ingenious. And, truly, a win-win situation.

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